Marcel Quinet Collection (1915-1986)

The Marcel Quinet collection contains autograph manuscripts, correspondance, concert programmes, presse cuttings, iconographic documents and archives.

Consult the collection online

Born in Binche on 6 July 1915, Marcel Quinet commenced his musical education at the Académie de Musique in his birth town, and then continued his studies at the Conservatoire Royal de Mons.

In 1934, he was accepted at the Conservatoire royal de Musique de Bruxelles. There he had numerous successes: First Prize for fugue (Prix Gevaert, 1938), Higher Diploma in piano (Prix Ella Olin, 1942), Composition prize (Prix Agniez, 1946), etc. He studied composition with Léon Jongen and, later, most importantly, with Jean Absil.

In 1945 he was awarded the Premier Grand Prix of Rome for his cantata La Vague et le Sillon. This marked the start of his life as a composer. He received Second Prize for composition at the Concours Reine Elisabeth in Belgium for his work Variation pour Orchestre (1957). In 1959, the CeBeDeM awarded him the Emile Doehaert prize for composition for his Divertimento. He was also awarded the prize of the Belgian ‘Union de la Presse Musicale’ (1964), the Irma de la Hault prize (1966), the Koopal scholarship (1970), the SABAM prize (1972) and the prize of the Darche Foundation (1978).

He taught at the music academy of Binche (1939-1943) and then became professor of piano at the Academy of Etterbeek (1941-1969) ; starting in 1943 he also taught piano at the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelle, where he later became professor of written harmony (1948-1959) then professor of fugue (1959-1979). He was director of the Music Academy in Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode and Schaerbeek, (1951-1975) ; he was many times a visiting professor, and then regular professor of composition at the Chapelle Reine Elisabeth de Belgique (1968-1979). He was administrator (1976-1980) and then president of the solidarity fund, the ‘Caisse d’Entraide et de Solidarité’ of SABAM (1980-1986).

By 1959, Quinet was already a well-known figure in the world of music. Robert Wangermee wrote of him, "In the first works by Marcel Quinet, we can sense a desire to return to Bach, by way of Hindemith. At the same time, an admiration for Bartok has left its traces, but the influence of Absil is the most discernible. This can be seen in the structure of the melodic phrases, in the elegant writing of counterpoint, and the confident manipulation of the orchestra. Quinet also writes admirably for the piano. More than anything he enjoys devising games of form where his great sensibility finds an outlet."

Within his creative work, Marcel Quinet took on the most radical contemporary trends, and integrated them into his personal artistic voice, with his influences including Bartok, Stravinsky and the Viennese school. While he started by writing tonal music, he later moved towards plural modality and non-serial atonal chromaticism. In 1969 he discovered the importance of ancient Greek music and its metre, as shown by his final works.

He was accepted as a corresponding member (1976) and then member (1978) of the Académie Royale de Belgique, in the field of the fine arts. Marcel Quinet disappeared on 16 December 1986, leaving behind him around a hundred indexed works, all written in a modern vein, in a very personal and restrained style, remarkable for the writing style and refined manner of expression.